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Life on the open road

Caravanning has never been more popular and is set to enjoy a boom over the next decade, as Jo Cooper reports

Britons spent £2.6bn on touring holidays last year, while sales of touring caravans increased by 7 percent and motorhome sales were up by 14 percent. 

In factm spending on caravan and motorhome holidays is set to surge by a thrid by 2030, according to research commissioned by the Caravan and Motorhome Club.

Britons are forecast to spend some £3.6bn on touring holidays by 2030- a rise of 37 percent on current levels. This year is expected to see a particular jump in the number of trips as a slowing UK economy, inflation and a weak pound encourage people to take UK holidays.

With modern caravans fitted with everything from microwaves and TVs to shower rooms and USB sockets for charging phones, there;s no need to slum it on a caravan holiday. Camp sites, too, have evolved.

Once upon a time you might have expected to get a pint of milk and tin of beans from the camp shop. These days, you are just as likely t find it selling artisan bread, luxury-brand ice creams and local farm produce. Some even have coffee shops or restaurants.

Many sites now offer extra facilities, too, such as WiFi, fully serviced pitches (where you are permanently connected to electricity water and the sewerage system) and more amenities for dogs such as designated dog walks and even showers for muddy mutts. Children's play areas area also common.

Mindful of the environment, camping and caravan sites with special wildlife walks round the camp site "Caravans and motorhomes are hugely popular and a year-round holiday option," says Nikki Nichol from the Caravan and Motorhome Club, which has one million members.

"They allow people to explore the countryside and act as an accommodation option for people to enjoy their hobbies, whether that is cycling, walking, bird watching, or visiting historical attractions.

"Increasingly, we are also seeing people take their caravans to visit festivals- it's always nicer to go back to your own comfortable bed, cooker and a warm shower. Some of our members also use their vehicles when they are marshalling motor sports events and so on.

"With a caravan or motorhome, every Friday night can be the star of a mini-break and adventure.

"They allow people to have numerous holidays throughout the year rather than waiting for one two-week holiday. it's also good for the rural tourism economy as people spend an average £400 a year eating out, shopping and going to visitor attractions."

John Lally, director general of the National Caravan Council, the industry's trade body, says: "Holiday behaviour is changing. We are going on more frequent, shorter holidays.

"Tourers, motorhomes and caravan holiday homes are perfect for this." 

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